SECTION III - Jurisdiction Of The Courts

VerfasserE. J. Cohn and G. Meyer
Amt des AutorenSir
  1. German law distinguishes sharply between the jurisdiction which courts of a particular class have over specified matters and the jurisdiction which an individual court of such class has over individual matters. The first aspect relates to jurisdiction by class of court, e.g., Amtsgericht, Landgericht, etc., and is called sachliche Zustindigkeit: it is dealt with in the GVG. The second deals with jurisdiction according to the locality of the court and is called Gerichtsstand or Ortliche Zustindigkeit. It is treated in sections 12 to 37 of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO).

    EXAMPLES:-(a) The first aspect gives the answer to a question such as 'Which class of court determines the claim of an illegitimate child for maintenance against the father? ' The answer is: 'This case is within the jurisdiction of the Amtsgericht '.

    (b) Having determined the Amtsgericht has jurisdiction, the second aspect answers the question: 'If the child resides in Berlin, the mother at Kiel and the father at Munich, which Amtsgericht determines the claim of this child against the father? ' The answer is: 'The Amtsgericht at Munich, being the court of the place where the defendant resides '.

  2. Jurisdiction by Class of Court.

    (a) The jurisdiction of the Amtsgericht in Civil Litigation comprises (according to section 23, GVG):(aa) all cases where the values involved are not more than 1,000 DM.

    (bb) all disputes between landlord and tenant.

    (cc) all disputes between travellers and inn-keepers, coachmen, shippers, relating to charges arising out of the journey.

    (dd) all disputes regarding defects of cattle and damage done by animals ferae naturae.

    (ee) all disputes regarding statutory claims for maintenance.

    (f) bastardy matters.

    (gg) all applications for the issue of orders for Arrest and Einstweilige Verfiigung (see on these terms section XVI below) if the property to be arrested or with regard to which the einstweilige Verfiigung is applied for, or if the person who is to be arrested is within the district of the Amtsgericht. The latter jurisdiction frequently brings before the Amtsgericht cases in which large sums of money are at stake.

    (b) The Zivilkammern of the Landgericht have jurisdiction in all cases of first instance which are not within the jurisdiction of the Amtsgericht, provided that they are civil matters (i.e., not criminal or administrative) and that no special court has jurisdiction to try them. The Zivilkammer has jurisdiction, even though the amount...

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